All Eyes on Judge’s Quest for No. 61
Normally, a September matchup of a team with a 7½-game lead in the division and seven games back of the best record in the American League meeting up with a squad five games under .500 would be just another game – even if it is the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.
However, with Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge on the cusp of history, every pitch he faces will be a big deal as he is one home run shy of tying the American League record of 61 home runs set by former Yankee Roger Maris in 1961.
The Red Sox were very careful with Judge in Thursday’s series opener as he was walked three times. Judge just missed hitting home run No. 61 as his 404-foot shot to center field was caught on the warning track.
Veteran lefty Rich Hill is slated to start for the Red Sox. Judge is hitting 60 points lower this season against left-handed pitching, with 13 of his 60 home runs coming against southpaws.
According to the MLB playoff odds, the Yankees (+500) trail only the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros in the odds to win the World Series.
Batting Title Still in Sight for Boston’s Bogaerts
While there will be no postseason appearance for Boston Red Sox, there is still something to play for. Obviously, Boston would rather that Judge hits home run No. 61 against another team. However, with three more games in the series, that seems a little unlikely.
Xander Bogaerts still has a chance to win the American League batting title. He has just four hits over his last five games as his average has fallen to .314. Bogaerts was 0-for-5 in the series opener and he is batting just .230 against the Yankees this season.
Judge leads the American League in runs, home runs, RBIs and batting average as well as on-base and slugging percentage. The race for the batting title is probably the only thing that could stop Judge from winning the triple crown, and Bogaerts might have the best chance if he finds his rhythm once again.
Something to consider for those who bet online: The Red Sox have lost eight of the last 12 contests against American League teams.
Judge One Swing Away from MLB History
The New York Yankees seem to have withstood the challenge by the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays. They lead the closest competitors in the AL East by eight and nine games, respectively, in the loss column with 13 games left to play.
Unlike in 1961, when Maris was sharing the spotlight in the home run chase with teammate Mickey Mantle, or in 1998 when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were engaged in a memorable duel to set the home run record, Judge is lapping the field this year. He has 20 more homers than any other player.
The pressure on Maris was intense and not enjoyable for him as there were fans who felt that Mantle was the more deserving player to surpass the legendary Babe Ruth’s record.
Judge has handled the pressure with relative ease – at least to the outside viewers. With many of his teammates either injured or lacking consistency, Judge had to carry the offensive load when things got tough for the Yankees.
The Las Vegas odds total have gone over in nine of the Yankees’ last 13 games against the Red Sox.
Red Sox vs Yankees Head-to-Head
The Yankees have taken 10 of the first 16 meetings with the Red Sox and that includes Thursday’s 5-4 win.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 23, 2022
That was the third game in a row won by the Yankees in the series.
Since the Yankees outscored the Red Sox 27-3 in back-to-back games in July, each of the last seven matchups have been decided by three runs or less and that includes four one-run affairs.
The Yankees are 5-2 at home in 2022 against the Red Sox.
Rafael Devers leads the Red Sox with six home runs and 13 RBIs against the Yankees. For the Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton is tied with Judge for the team lead with five home runs against Boston. The top hitter for the Yankees against Boston has been Matt Carpenter with a .480 average and 14 RBIs, but he is still sidelined with a foot injury.
Red Sox vs Yankees Game Information
- Game: Red Sox 72-77 (fifth in the AL East) vs Yankees 91-58 (first in the AL East)
- Location: Yankee Stadium, New York
- Day/Time: Friday, Sept. 23, 7:05 p.m. ET
- Red Sox vs Yankees Live Stream: MLB.tv
Take a Look at Other Analysis, Picks & Predictions for The Following MLB Games
- Yankees vs Blue Jays Prediction, Preview, Stream, Odds & Picks, Sept. 26
- Braves vs Nationals Prediction, Game Preview, Live Stream, Odds & Picks Sept. 26
Red Sox vs Yankees Betting Lines
|Boston Red Sox
R. Hill -L
|New York Yankees
G. Cole -R
Red Sox vs Yankees Prediction
While the attention will be focused on Judge stepping to the plate against Boston starter Hill and whoever the Red Sox call upon out of the bullpen, this is a good time for Yankees starter Gerrit Cole to put together better starts. Cole has allowed eight runs and five home runs in his last two starts. He is 2-0 against Boston this season, but has a 5.48 ERA.
The Yankees led the majors with 53 home wins while Boston is just 35-40 on the road, so all signs point to the Yankees taking Game 2 in this series. especially with first baseman Eric Hosmer and second baseman Trevor Story both on the injured list for the Red Sox.
The Yankees took care of one piece of business by clinching a playoff spot on Josh Donaldson’s walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning on Thursday. Now the focus will turn to winning the AL East Division title.
The total has gone over in New York’s last five home games and in five of the last six games. The total for this matchup is 7½.